Charles Ronald Wells Bladen was born on July 13, 1918, to Muriel Beatrice Tylecote and Kenneth Bladen, both British immigrants living in Vancouver, Canada. His mother studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and was active as part of the suffragette movement. In 1922 the family moved to the Washington state before returning to Canada to live in Victoria British Columbia in 1932.The artist displayed his love of and capacity for art at a young age. At ten years old Bladen began drawing intensively, making copies of works by Titian, Picasso and Matisse. In 1937 the artist enrolled in the Vancouver School of Art where he studied until 1939.Wikipedia
With in the Libertarian Circle, together with James Harmon, Philip Lamantia, Thomas Parkinson, Kenneth Rexroth, Sanders Russell and Robert Stock, he founded the literary journal, The Ark, in 1947. Bladen designed the cover and made contributions in the form of drawings and linocuts.In 1948, he met the actress Barbara Gross, whom he married a year later. Their son, Bran, born 1951,died shortly after of a kidney failure. The couple moved to San Carlos in California, buying a house on Winding Bay where Bladen set up a studio.In 1951, Ronald Bladen was naturalized as a US citizen.
In 1955, he separated from his wife, Barbara Gross. Through his friend, Kenneth Rexroth, he got to know the poet, Michael McClure, at the end of the summer and moved back to San Francisco into McClure’s communal household with Joanna MsClure, James and Beverly Harmon, Price Dunn and Larry Jordan. At this time a friendship arose with the writers, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and Henry Miller, as well as the painter, Al Held, who advised him to move to New York.
Bladen continued to be active mainly as a painter. He made paintings in the style of Abstract Expressionism in which intensively colored patches of organic formations are integrated into almost landscape-like surface forms, similar in color.
In 1960, he took over Al Held studio a 5 west 21st Street, progressively restricted his painterly activity, and began to occupy himself with collages made of folded paper and the first painted reliefs of plywood. As in previous years, to earn his living, he worked as a toolmaker.In 1962, he exhibited his painted plywood reliefs for the first time at the Brata Gallery and the Green Gallery in New York. The following year he made his first free-standing, colored sculptures from plywood boards with metal struts. From this time on the Bladen dedicated himself exclusively to sculpture.
In 1964, he showed his first sculpture, White Z, at an exhibition in the Park Place Gallery in New York and got to know the sculptures, Connie Reyes, who later became his companion. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts by the National Endowment of the Arts. The first works include also Rambler, 1963/1964, and the Rockers, 1965, which Bladen understood as the artistic basis for all his further sculptures.
Bladen was mostly occupied with commissions which, since the 1970s, were often accompanied by preparatory models. Thus, in 1976, he created Cosmic Seed for Des Moines (Iowa), 1977, he created Kama Sutra for Central Park in New York, 1978 Oracle’s Vision for Springfield (Ohio), Black Lightning 1981 for Seattle and the campus of King Faisal University in Riyadh as well as Host of the Ellipse for Baltimore (Maryland). From 1985 on, the sculptor, Larry Deyab, assisted him in his work.
At the beginning of 1988, as recognition for his services to the summer academy in Skowhegan, Bladen was awarded the Skowhegan Trustees & Governor Award for Service to the Arts.(ronaldbladenestate.com)